Well my friends, God has seen fit to see me through another year. It has been a real interesting one to say the least. Kind of an extended unplanned sabbatical from pastoral ministry. It is in some ways quite a change going from settled pastor to being a tobacconist and podcast host for the world’s largest privately owned cigar retailer. That said, ministry and discipleship doesn’t stop because you don’t have your name on the marque of a church; nor does it stop because you work at a cigar shop. In fact I am more convinced than ever that we need to be learning to be looking to see where God is working outside of the church instead of wondering how to get people to come into the church. We need to be learning to be like Jesus out of the church when we are at home, at work, and out and about in our everyday life. Worshipping Jesus in church should be a priority for us, but if we are not living like Jesus when we walk out the church doors, we perhaps need to think about the sincerity of our worship. Such at least is one of the things I have been learning in my 47th year.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
(Isaiah 58:5-10, NIV).